Archive for July, 2007

Trains Rule and Planes Drool

Night Train

Flying sucks. Big time. Not convinced? Check out my awesome new post at Celsias for 10 great reasons why you should take the train. And the environment is not one of them, haha. Go on, you won’t be sorry. Even though sometimes (but not always) it might be more expensive, it is totally worth it, especially for shorter trips.

When you consider your options don’t forget to factor in the time it gets you to get to the airport, that you have to be there 1 or 2 hours early, that you will wait 1 hour for luggage and that you will need another hour to get to where you are going from the other airport. And transport to and from the airport, whether it is a taxi or a shuttle will sometimes cost more than the ticket itself.

So think about it. Is it really worth the global warming you would be causing? But that’s enough spoilers…. Go and read my post 😀

Photo borrowed from Ned Lyttelton on Flickr.

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July 31, 2007 at 1:21 pm 1 comment

Where is Organic Leather?

hmm...leather

Disclaimerthis post may be inappropriate to sensitive vegans/vegetarians. Viewer discretion is advised.

I know many of you will look down on me for being a leather wearing, beef eating, milk drinking sorry-ass excuse of an environmentalist. In my defense, I like cows and I think humans and cows should live in harmony. I am all for humanely, respectfully treated cows in small-scale organic farms. Only, I just think that we shouldn’t have as many cows as we have now. That’s why I only eat and drink organic dairy, as local as possible.

But what I really want to talk about is leather… Even though I could, conceivably, give up my leather jacket and my leather handbag, I have BIG issues with shoes made of anything other than leather. I just can’t… I’m sorry, but I can’t! You see, here is my embarrassing little secret… my feet stink 😀 Well, more accurately, they have a tendency to develop a more pungent odor if they can’t ‘breathe’. So I really can’t wear anything other than cow hides on my little ogre feet, under penalty of being persecuted for possessing biologic WMDs. TMI? Sorry 😀

So here is my question to you. There is a growing number of organic cows out there. Where is organic leather? I mean, it should exist, right? If the cows are certified organic, then the cow skin is, at least in theory, certified as well. So shouldn’t there be a separate market for organic cow skin and leather? Shouldn’t there be stylish organic leather shoes out there? Well, the answer to this seems to be both yes and no.

While Organic Leather does indeed exist, the only thing I could find is this. I mean, COME ON! I don’t know about you but I am not about to walk around dressed like a wannabe Pocahontas. All I want is a decent pair of shoes, and I would STRONGLY prefer they were made of organic leather, tanned without causing an small-scale environmental disaster.

I know it is possible, because I found these guys, who make awesome looking eco-friendly hand-bags. When I grow up, I gotta get me one of these. But those hand-bags! And I asked for shoes! If there are folks out there selling classy organic hand-bags, why aren’t they selling SHOES?

Is this really too much to ask? Isn’t there ANYONE out there who can provide me with what I want? And I’m SURE there are plenty of other stinky-footed environmentalists who would pay good money for this as well! Come on, you eco-preneurs out there! Please?

Future handbag by this guy on Flickr.

July 28, 2007 at 8:38 am 34 comments

Good news and bad news

Bad news first-  Looks like the Brits are all about globally warming us all with their outdoor patio heaters… If you ask me, this has got to be one of the most absurd inventions ever created by man. “It’s a heater… for outside!” I mean COME ON! Apparently, smokers need to stay warm.

What’s the good news you might ask? Well, if you look carefully at this article in Celsias,  you might notice that its written by a certain someone that you may or may not know as the Closet Environmentalist 😀 That’s right! I got a job!!!

But worry not, I will not neglect the Closet Environmentalist… (Or at least not anymore than its already been neglected :D). So first of all, take a good look at Celsias because it’s a great site, and I’ll be sure to let you know when you can read some fab new posts by yours truly over there 😉

July 26, 2007 at 2:14 pm 7 comments

Tip: Minimal Packaging Please

mail

So I just discovered The Worsted Witch blog, and digging through the archives found this really great suggestion I just had to share here. If you shop online but are frustrated by all the unnecessary bubble wrap and evil Styrofoam peanuts they stuff with your package and almost certain flood of catalogs and junk mail to follow, here is what to do. When placing your online order, you can leave a note saying something like this:

 

“Please use minimal and recycled packaging. Kindly do not include any catalogs, inserts, fliers, shrink-wrap, bubble wrap, packing confetti, plastic “pillows,” or Styrofoam peanuts. (You can use crumpled up newspaper if padding is necessary.) Please do not include me in any mailing lists or exchange lists you may have. Thank you! “

Thank you to The Worsted Witch for the original wording. I only wish I had used this when I was ordering my Diva Cup and my Reusable Bags stuff. Duh. But now I know better.

No guarantees they will actually listen to you, but there is always hope. And there is also a better chance that they will eventually respond to popular demand of eco-friendlier packaging.

If you still end up with foam peanuts lying around, Treehugger for example has suggested that they can be brought back to packaging stores. If there is a mailing service in your area, you could also take them the packing boxes, as well as the peanuts and bubble wrap. And if you are crafty, you can always use the peanuts to make a bean bag. Although I imagine that would be quite a stash of peanuts you would need 😉

Photo by Miskan on Flickr.

July 23, 2007 at 10:00 am 16 comments

Bloggers for Positive Global Change

I almost almost forgot. A while ago Michelle Verges from Conserve Plastic Bags was so kind to nominate me for a Bloggers for Positive Global Change award. Thank you, Michelle. I am personally not going to nominate anyone this time because I already gave out ‘Thinking Blogger Awards’ a while back, and also tagged a bunch of other people with the ‘7 random facts’, so I’ll just refer you to those posts.

I know I should take this opportunity to acknowledge the great new blogs have been crossing my radar lately, but I’m just too scattered at this point to give them the attention they deserve. Sorry guys. I’ll make it up to you, I swear. Let’s just say that with all the stuff in my head right now, I have the attention span of a goldfish. The only reason I am not completely out of touch with the blogosphere is because fortunately I’ve had the foresight to subscribe to my favorite blogs back when my sanity was still intact.

So anyway, thanks to everyone who keeps reading this blog, despite my neglect *blush*

July 22, 2007 at 5:21 pm 1 comment

It rubs the lotion on its skin

I used to be a really high maintenance chick. I did. At some point, I had at least one different product for each body part, if not more. Let’s see, day cream, night cream, eye cream, hand cream, foot cream, one body lotion for arms and legs and another for the rest, special anti-cellulite cream (yeah, you can imagine how well that works). Body scrub, facial cleanser, sunscreen, perfume, make up, nail polish, not to mention shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, special tips serum, and of course, deodorant and toothpaste. Now I don’t know how “It” ever had the patience to rub all that crap on its skin.

I just got lazy. And I can’t alienate how nasty that stuff is anymore. Or maybe I just got me a one-way ticket to hippie-land. Next I will stop showering and using deodorant and grow rastas and wear tie-die clothes (kinda like this guy) and chant (but not around a fire because that emits CO2). Hmm… Naaaah! But my I think my boyfriend sometimes actually worries about this possibility.

In the meantime, I stopped using most of that stuff and slowly but surely started replacing my nasty products with greener ones. I only use the make up and perfume when I have social special occasions. I stopped ‘cleansing’ my face and didn’t notice any hostile acne takeovers. I stopped moisturizing and my skin is not scaling off yet. And I only put on some face lotion before I got out because of the SPF. I have to say, I stopped using a whole bunch of things and didn’t notice any difference at all.

I also started replacing the main stuff I use with their greener versions, mostly from these guys, mainly because I can find them at my organic shop at a reasonable price. But their stuff is pretty good, especially if you consider their extremely short and simple ingredient lists. I have to admit, their lotions are not the best smelling out there, but their lack of nasties totally makes up for that. In fact, after a while I actually came to like the ‘natural’ smell and started to strongly dislike the smell of conventional products. So far, I’m quite happy with natural toothpaste, lotion, and even shampoo and conditioner.

And I know how controversial shampoo can be. But I think that maybe the persistence is the key to the great shampoo drama. When I first got my natural shampoo, I have to say, I hated it for the first wash or two. It didn’t lather well and left my hair all dull and just overall horrible. But I am a cheap-ass so I just kept using it, and lo and behold, after a week it looked as good as ever. Now I want to decrease the washes from every other day to every 2 days. Once a week would be a dream, but I have to say that I am still a little skeptical of the whole no poo thing. I even tried it once, but that didn’t quite work out for me. And I know there are folks out there that are all about the soda and vinegar thing, but I don’t think I’m quite there yet. So I’ll just stick with my all-natural pooing for now.

Next I want to replace my paraben-laden deodorant, possibly with a solid one from lush. I was also thinking of trying their solid shampoo, but I don’t like the propylene glycol in them. I know there is SLS in it, but if Treehugger says SLS is innocent, I believe them. Ah, maybe I’ll try it anyway.

Oh, and on a related theme, I also changed to an eco-brand of dish washing liquid and I like it a lot more than the conventional one. It works just as good but it doesn’t leave nasty chemical smells on the frying pans like the other one did.

Photo by ktpupp on Flickr.

July 19, 2007 at 12:40 pm 8 comments

Ceci n’est pas un Post.

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

Haha… just kidding. Yes it is. I have just been away for such a long time I reached the point of not knowing how to start a post… Sad.

So I tried to put the blog on hold while I focus more on finishing my thesis, but this seems to work even worse than before. It seems that the more time I don’t write the worse my writer’s block gets. So I guess I am back to blogging, and will try to keep up with more regular posting from now on. Doesn’t it always seem like the more we get done, the more we are able to do? Although, the opposite is usually more noticeable. Whenever I don’t do work, I am not able to do anything else because I feel like I should be doing work. I don’t do work, but I also don’t do other things I have to do, and I especially don’t do things I like doing. But now I am trying to reverse this tendency. Get back on the horse I guess.

Anyway, let’s move on to what I actually wanted to talk about today. I went to Germany last weekend. And yes, the sad part is that I have been meaning to talk about this all week, and only now was I able to overcome the Block.

I have mentioned before that I have a really had time keeping up with my best green intentions when I am out of my element. And so it was once again. I was visiting family for a whole weekend and I my biggest achievement was refusing the bottled water everyone was insistingly offering me. And indeed, I won that battle but lost the war. These Germans really do put up a fight, I didn’t even stand a chance. It wasn’t just the fact that I had meat shoved down my throat 3 times a day. It was more than that. It was experiencing a lifestyle that seems so distant now, and so capitally opposed to everything I stand for. It is hard to face the facts. How can something that means so much to me be so insignificant to everyone else?

But the worst indignity was still to come. Never mind the meat, the overpackaging, the bottled beverages, the fake food, the obliviousness to the our food values. The most frustrating part of the weekend was on the train ride back. That was the last drop. After that I was fuming so much I thought my head was going to explode. But why don’t I tell you about it and you will see what I mean.

There was a restaurant wagon on the train. I brought my own lunch wrapped in my nifty little wrap’n’mat. I had my handy little travel mug. So I thought, ‘why don’t I go over to the restaurant car and fetch myself some cappuccino’. Surely they would have a proper coffee machine, capable of pouring out cappuccinos into peoples mugs! And that’s because the Dutch had me spoiled. Their standard coffee machines are able to produce a half-decent cappuccino. And I was innocent enough to believe that the Germans would live up to their neighbors standards. But no. That’s not how it went.

When I did get to the train bar, I asked for my cappuccino, presented my mug and was very clear to demand that my cappuccino be served in my mug. But before I could realize what was happening and scream “Nein! Nein!”, the guy was opening a little plastic sachet and pouring some powder into a paper cup. At this point, I again indicated to the guy that I wanted my cappuccino in my cup and not a disposable one, with still some hope left that the sachet and the paper cup were destined for someone else. The guy only seemed to ignore me. And then what? And this is the part that left me perplex. I told the guy again that I wanted the cappuccino in MY cup. And to my horror, the guy nodded and then proceeded to fill the paper cup containing the sachet of gross cappuccino powder with boiling water and then pouring it into my cup!!! I was mortified!

It was then I realized that the guy thought it was his duty to measure my cappuccino with the standard paper cup to be absolutely sure that I was going to get the EXACT amount of cappuccino powder and hot water that I am allowed, and not a sip more. But the most revolting part to me is that the guy was only measuring hot water. The powder was already precisely measured because it came out of a sachet. So tell me. How &@#$% square do you have to be to measure HOT WATER???

And now I am going to end this post abruptly because I am so pissed off at Germans that I fear I might say something less politically correct about them. The End.

July 13, 2007 at 12:49 pm 9 comments

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